A Complete Guide to Wireframes

A Complete Guide to Wireframes
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“Great web design without functionality is like a sports car with no engine.”? Paul Cookson

If you think math is hard, try Wireframing.

Wireframing is an important step in every web and app screen design process. It allows you to define the flow chart and information hierarchy of website design. It makes it easier for web designer to plan layout according to how you want your users to process the information. If you have yet to use wireframing, it’s high time to get your feet wet. Wireframes help to establish relationships between a website’s various templates.

As a website designer I personally find it invaluable on small or big projects to have a visual representation of website content, its hierarchy and layout. Overall it’s an excellent step to incorporate into your project before the design process begins for both you and your clients.

Poorly functioning website and a frustrating user experience can damage brand image. A big and expensive website redesigns are often taken to correct those kind of problems.

Adding a wireframes and testing a prototype in your website design process ensures that the redesigned site would not introduce any new error for user.

I know website designer hate wireframes. But understanding how to work with wireframes is the key to creating a success site prototype. I know i’m not the only one, Feels like everyone & their mom posted an article about that.

So did I… 😉 But with a very different idea in mind: to give you the complete guide on wireframes.

It is exciting! Let start

What is Wireframe?

Wireframes - visual representation of website

Wireframes are a visual representation of content of a website webpages that is the equivalent of user research, Content and business objective. They are working documents. Wireframing is important for designer because it allow the designer to plan the layout of an interface without being distracted by colors.

Types of Wireframes

Low Fidelity and High Fidelity Wireframes

There are two types of wireframes:

  1. Low Fidelity Wireframes
  2. High Fidelity Wireframes
  1. Low Fidelity Wireframes: It resembles a sketch that you can draw with your own. Sketches are just black and white representation of the user interface.
  2. High Fidelity Wireframes: This type of frame are used to create to show the finer details of the user interface. They used color to represent of their counter parts with more attention to alignment and sizing of each element of the user interface.

The Value of Wireframes

Wireframes serve multiple purposes by helping to:

  • Connect the website’s information architecture to its visual design
  • showing paths between pages
  • Determine intended working functionality in the interface
  • Prioritize content

How to Create a Wireframe

Creating a wireframe

Creating a wireframe can be very simple task or as complicated as you want. your wireframe might be nothing more than a sketch on some graph paper. Other “wireframes” are created digitally and are really more like prototypes, with clickable objects and limited functionality.

Consider few things before creating a Wireframes:

  • Do not Use Colors
  • Do not use Images
  • Use only one generic font

Although wireframes differ from website to website, the following elements are used on wireframes:

  • Logos
  • Search text field
  • Breadcrumb
  • Headers, Title H1 and H2-Hx
  • Navigation systems
  • Body content of website
  • Social and others Share buttons
  • Contact information
  • Footer of site

Techniques of Wireframing

Basically there are two type of Techniques of wireframing:

  1. End to End Flow Wireframing: In End-to-End Wirefrmes, we display the entire flow of application in a single wireframe.
  2. Consolidated Flow Wireframing: In Consolidated Flow Wireframming, we will create wireframe all the actions together in one wireframe.

Why do we use Wireframes?

Wireframes - to understand the flow of entire web app.

  1. To help Mobile & Web App designer and developers to understand the flow of entire web app.
  2. Clarify: It provide a complete clear picture of what information will be needed on each page before design.
  3. Focus: It help web designer to spend time and really focus on the very layout/content of a website to make website structure more equate.
  4. Understand: It help to understand a clear look at how the website will react to various visitors without the clutter of color or design elements.
  5. Adjust: Easily adjust and easy to create allowing the planning process to move along smoothly and efficiently.
  6. Specify: It specify clear set of visual specifications for designers and developers.
  7. Connect : It provide an interface where clients also involved in the planning process
  8. Safeguard: Set fallback points to avoid scope creeps and rework.
  9. Benefit: It save your time, money and efforts by clarifying important development steps upfront.

When Should I start Wireframe?

Wireframing

Usually wireframes should be used at the beginning of every website design or redesign process.

Wireframes help to focus on the most important questions:

  • What is the website supposed to accomplish?
  • What is the website design going to look like?
  • What navigation elements do we need in site?
  • What elements should be on which page of site?
  • What should be on the landing page or a subpage? 

The Wireframing Process

Wireframing Process

This process done in 4 easy step these are as follows:

  1. Determine design layout process
  2. Develop wireframe
  3. Get Feedback
  4. Revise 

What should a wireframe contain?

Aside from the UI design your wireframes should contain a number of things which will help when using them as a reference point, or when discussing them with either the client or the project. 

Wireframe vs. Mockup vs. Prototype 

Wireframe vs. Mockup vs. Prototype

Wireframes are basic illustrations of the structure and components of a web page and its flow. Mockups generally focus on the visual design elements of the site. Prototypes are semi-functional webpage layouts of a mockup/comp that serves to give a higher-fidelity preview of the actual site being built.

Wireframing Tools

Wireframing Tools

  1. Omnigraffle – With the help of Omnigraffle you can easily create diagrams, process charts, quick page layouts and website mockups
  2. Visio – This tool helps to visualize, explore, and communicate complex information.
  3. Protoshare – Collaborate online wireframe tool with real time communication and clickable wireframes.
  4. Balsamiq – With the help of this amazing tool you can easily and quickly created rough mockups with predefined elements
  5. iPlotz – If you want to quickly sketch wireframes of Web sites and demonstrate navigation between pages you must consider this tool in your collection.
  6. Lovely Charts – Lovely charts help to Diagraming app that allows you to create site maps, flowcharts, wireframes and more.
  7. Jumpchart – This tool is used for Online collaborative wireframe
  8. Axure – you can rapidly create wireframes, prototypes and specifications for applications and web sites through Axure.
  9. Gliffy – Create website wireframes and share web mockups with anyone.

I hope it will help you to understand the clear idea of what a wireframe is and how to go about. wireframing the user interface to convey your design ideas. The whole purpose of wireframes is to draw, get feedback and redraw to avoid the complexity in the design and make it smooth for various users. So do not be afraid to keep on iterating your wireframe as you get feedback from others. Now, if this article really helped you, please share it with your friends. I will appreciate that. So here we end this tutorial. What’s your opinion? Do you use wireframes for your web design projects? If not, why not? Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments, email me thanks for reading!

 
 
Author:
Ashish Sharma is a Key Account Manager having 10+ years in internet in, looking after Marketing Strategies and building new business tie ups at WeDigTech - A Mobile App Development Company in India Helping Enterprises & StartUps for Web & Mobile Applications Consulting and Development from domestic to MNCs.

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